What does the future hold for your customer engagement strategies in 2022? In this blog, we’ll be exploring the top consumer trends to keep an eye out for in the retail space, so you can maintain customer satisfaction levels, boost their interactivity with your company and more.
2021 in a nutshell for retailers
In 2021, retailers focused on adapting to continued growth throughout the e-commerce space due to the ongoing implications of the global pandemic. However, with the world returning to a new sense of normality, we’re now seeing a shift from companies adopting online processes to differentiating their customer engagement strategies in 2022.
Here are the retail trends you need to keep an eye out for in the new year:
Top consumer engagement trends you need to know for 2022
- Insights-led customer engagement strategies are key
- Interactions with AI are evolving
1. Insights-led customer engagement strategies are key
Through effective collaboration with your marketing and insights, you can provide customer-focused campaigns that dial in to their needs, and clearly explain how your offerings can help solve their issues.
For instance, sustainability awareness has been a growing retail trend, with a recent study finding 50% of consumers who desire responsibly resourced fashion are more likely to buy clothes from companies who are committed to working sustainably. Take this insight to drive campaigns that focus on activities relating to the theme of sustainability, leading to further engagement with your brand.
Additionally, an effective insights-led engagement strategy can help you become more customer centric. It’s found that customer centric companies are 60% more profitable than those who don’t focus on customers. Therefore, by following this retail trend in 2022, this should increase your current retention to boost customer loyalty.
Here are some ways you can do this:
- Targeted social media content - by understanding what your audience engages with the most, these insights will help you decide which content to use that’s the most relevant, increasing the value you’re able to offer them
- Loyalty schemes – you can get to know your customers through their past transactions with your company, so you can provide better recommendations and targeted complimentary products to boost sales
- Act on feedback – if your customers experience issues with item quality or an aspect of your service, you can address this by exploring valuable insights such as online reviews, allowing you to see areas where you can improve upon for future purposes
2. Interactions with AI are evolving
As more and more consumers use e-commerce platforms, this has increased the number of online interactions through the use of intelligent AI. Research shows that last year, 51% of e-commerce players have implemented automation technologies, with chatbots responding to 85% of customer interactions.
Some benefits of effectively implementing AI such as a chatbot include:
- Regular updates about a customer’s order
- Offers a personalised experience on a 24/7 basis without the need of a customer support team
- Enhances your customers journey with a chatbot they recognise
See the full list of benefits of how a chatbot can improve your customer engagement here.
You should also be aware of how customers interact within your physical stores and how AI is being used to benefit offline customer engagement. Last year, Levi’s introduced stores where customers can personalise, tailor, and explore outfits based on their clothing choices, all throughout their retail outlets.
By offering advanced AI for both offline and online purposes, you will keep on top of and stay ahead of trends. That’s how you futureproof your engagement strategies for 2022 and beyond.
3. Brands who can humanise their customer interactions will thrive
By establishing deeper connections through a variety of platforms, this can improve your customer relationships, with potential to increase customer engagement and loyalty in turn. As a retailer, a way you can create an authentic experience is through active use on social channels.
Fashion brands, for instance, can use hashtags and photos of their clothing, allowing customers to freely share their opinions in the comments on the latest ranges and what they’d like to see in future launches. By having this open feedback source, you can effectively bridge the gap between your brand and your audience, as this creates the opportunity to respond authentically to individuals.
This is how you can continue to keep customers continuously engaged with your brand - even during a crisis.
4. Personalised experiences are the way forward
2021 showed us that customers crave a relevant, personalised experience, and due to Google switching off third party cookies from 2023 onwards, companies need to shift their full focus on collecting first party data.
Here’s how you can personalise customer experiences to boost engagement:
- Product recommendations based on past searches
- Emails based on user interactions with the company
- Complimentary products based on the items in basket
- Geolocation targeting
5. An omnichannel experience is critical for customer engagement
From in-store to online interactions, customers can engage with your brand in many ways, placing the need for a consistent, fluid omnichannel experience. You can create an effective omnichannel experience by:
- Offering a wide variety of platforms to interact with your brand - in 2022, up to 73% of consumers will use more than one channel in their overall journey to buy a product, which is likely to maintain growth as the e-commerce landscape increases
- Integrating offline and online interactions - if a customer purchases a product from your store, receipts can be sent via email, making it easier for your customer service team to see what they bought when it comes to enquiries
- Having mobile support for your site – if your content is optimised for mobile, customers can easily view products they may have looked at via other platforms on the go, offering convenience and a better chance that they’ll purchase from your brand
- Provide an app for your loyalty scheme –physical cards can easily be lost, therefore, by offering an app with a QR code in addition to this, customers can still earn points which will be added and updated across all platforms
6. Digital transformation is key to survival in 2022 and beyond
In 2021, we saw that retailers globally are reaching a balance between online and offline shopping experiences, with a rise in store openings over the year. Despite the growth of brick-and-mortar stores, the evolution of digital processes still remains essential to enhance customer engagement.
Here are the key steps you can take to digitally transform your business:
- Decide on your goals – what are you aiming to achieve with the project? Once you’ve aligned your goals with your business strategy , you can move into ‘the doing’ (AKA how to digitally transform)
- Get your team’s input – the people whose daily working lives will be directly impacted by these changes, therefore by ensuring your team’s buy-in, you can help them feel more involved and accountable for the project’s success
- Understand your customer needs – you can understand customers better through the use of a good CRM system, which can store essential customer data so you can provide targeted product recommendations, bundles appropriate to their past orders and more
- Review the technology solutions on the market – what technology will best compliment your existing processes and systems for you to be as flexible, efficient and scalable as possible? Once you answer this question by looking back at your goals, you can then explore the modern e-commerce tech available to best assist you, such as a Content Management System (CMS) or introducing advanced AI to your platform
- Encourage a digital-first culture – digital transformation isn’t just about technology, it’s about your culture, consisting of innovation, customer centricity and idea generation
Learn how to digitally transform with our guide on B2B e-commerce
From exploring the customer engagement trends in 2022, you can see how critical it is to have a digital transformation plan in place. But where do you start? Our guide below on successful digital transformation in B2B e-commerce covers:
- The ideal experience the 21st century B2B customer expects
- More detail on our 5 recommended steps to digital transformation in the e-commerce space
- A real-life example of transformation in action
Get your copy today to find out more.